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[Build log and initial 1920X impressions] (Finally!) ordered the parts for my GF's video editing rig

Valantar

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Aug 26, 2014
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So I believe I've been "planning" (read: thinking aloud about) this build off and on on these forums for something like the past two years. Anyhow, thanks to an unexpected windfall, she told me she wanted to finally buy the thing. Also, Threadripper CPUs were 20% off for Black Friday, bringing them within budget range. Now I'm really just looking for confirmation that this build makes sense.

The use case: 4K video editing in Adobe Premiere. General desktop usage, and some Civilization and similar games.

Main concerns: performance (duh), longevity. I want it to be quiet (it'll be in the same room as my gaming PC), she doesn't care much.


CPU: Threadripper 1920X 12c24t
Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix X399-E
CPU Cooler: Enermax Liqtech 240mm TR4 edition
RAM: 32GB (4x8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 3400MHz c16
GPU: Asus GTX 970 (already owned)
PSU: Seasonic Focus+ Gold 850W
OS Drive: Samsung 960 Evo 500GB
Bulk storage drive: Seagate Barracuda 4TB
Case: Corsair Carbide 400Q
Case Fans: 2x Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM

Total price (including 25% VAT and shipping): NOK 20 739 ($2545 directly converted)

My main concern was cooling a build like this in the 400Q, but from skimming some reviews, it shouldn't be an issue. Am I wrong here? Added the two extra fans just in case (har har, pun not intended), either as intakes or as a lopsided push-pull setup on the rad (don't think that's necessary, though). If there's room, the AIO will go in the top of the case as an exhaust. 64GB of RAM would have added way too much to the budget, so it wasn't an option (RAM prices are ludicrous!), even if it probably could have been used. Cheapest 32GB kit I could find at or above 2933MT/s - and I believe they're Samsung B-die, which is of course nice.

Threadripper/X399 was chosen for three reasons: crazy rendering performance, the possibility of adding more SSDs and other expansion cards down the line, and longevity: a crazy 12c24t CPU should last her longer than an 8c16t, and there's always the option of finding a nice used 1950X in 3-4-5 years if needed. In time a 5/10GBE NIC will be added to hook up to a future NAS. The motherboard was chosen as the cheapest option that still had WiFi (nice as a backup in case of outages) and decent-looking VRM cooling that won't interfere with a top-mounted radiator. Saw no reason to add 50% to the motherboard cost for features she doesn't want/need. A bit bummed by it only having two m.2 slots, but riser cards are cheap, and we're only filling one anyhow. I actually wanted to use a big air cooler for this build, but I haven't seen any really good ones for TR4 that I trust to handle multi-hour renders quietly, and the Enermax AIOs get great reviews.

The GPU is of course rather weak, but it's free, CUDA enabled, and she likely won't be using a lot of GPU-accelerated filters and the like. From what I've been able to figure out, having a GPU is more important than it being great when it comes to Premiere. Given OklahomaWolf's ravings over at JonnyGuru, the PSU seems like a no-brainer. Probably won't OC the CPU, and if so, not by much. Stability is key here. A single storage drive is of course not secure at all, but everything will be constantly backed up both on and off site.

Also: redacted, I get to build a Threadripper PC. I did not think that (or anything similar) would ever happen.

Edit: whoops, sorry mods, got a bit carried away there.
 
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Valantar

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Aug 26, 2014
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Idiot. I don't like being told what to do! ;)

Seriously though, I'm extremely jealous. That's going to be one heck of a video editing monster!
Thanks! Good to have a second set of eyes to tell me I haven't made some cringe-inducing mistake in the rather hasty component selection process. Now, if only parts would start arriving ... post Black Friday shipping is no fun :p


If anyone has any experience cooling a somewhat hot build in a Corsair 400Q, I would love to hear of it.
 
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UsandThem

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Thanks! Good to have a second set of eyes to tell me I haven't made some cringe-inducing mistake in the rather hasty component selection process. Now, if only parts would start arriving ... post Black Friday shipping is no fun :p


If anyone has any experience cooling a somewhat hot build in a Corsair 400Q, I would love to hear of it.
I would never be heard from again here if I ordered a killer system like that. My wife would get a heavy cast iron skillet, hit me over the head, and bury the body. I got enough "stink eye" from the $204 RX 580 video card that was delivered from Black Friday shopping ;)
 

Valantar

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Aug 26, 2014
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I would never be heard from again here if I ordered a killer system like that. My wife would get a heavy cast iron skillet, hit me over the head, and bury the body. I got enough "stink eye" from the $204 RX 580 video card that was delivered from Black Friday shopping ;)
Haha, ouch. That doesn't sound like the best course of action for either of you (I don't know what's more uncomfortable, a shallow grave or a US prison), so I think you're right in avoiding multi-thousand dollar purchases for the moment, at least.

I suppose we do have some ... non-standard spending habits. We live in a small, rather crappy apartment, don't have a car, and spend most of our money saving up for PC stuff (mostly me) or camera gear (mostly her), plus an annual three-to-four-week vacation somewhere interesting. I still can't really fathom how we do it, considering none of us have really had steady work (6-month contracts at the most) since college, but I guess it adds up. Of course, the pay level with a Master's degree here in Norway isn't exactly bad, even for short-term work, so that helps.
 
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UsandThem

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But no, my wife is usually ok with computer stuff, but just within the last month, my youngest son's motherboard died, and that chipset is out of production and the motherboards are very high. So I just bought a Skylake CPU and Z170 motherboard. And then then there have been all the computer deals lately that have showed up at our house recently.......monitor, PSU, video card, and RAM, so I think if I don't self-impose a component buying "blackout period", I am going to get a "do we really need that" coming soon. ;)
 

whm1974

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But no, my wife is usually ok with computer stuff, but just within the last month, my youngest son's motherboard died, and that chipset is out of production and the motherboards are very high. So I just bought a Skylake CPU and Z170 motherboard. And then then there have been all the computer deals lately that have showed up at our house recently.......monitor, PSU, video card, and RAM, so I think if I don't self-impose a component buying "blackout period", I am going to get a "do we really need that" coming soon. ;)
Well if I didn't spend about ~$200 on soda in three weeks I would have had money to buy a few things last week. So because of the above I quit drinking pop last Monday.
 

UsandThem

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Well if I didn't spend about ~$200 on soda in three weeks I would have had money to buy a few things last week. So because of the above I quit drinking pop last Monday.
Yeah, that's gonna be good for your health (and bank account) in the long-run. That's a crazy amount of soda! :eek:
 

UsandThem

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There is a 7-11 store not even a block away from me, and I blame them.
I tried that once back when I use to drink way too much beer because we lived within walking distance of one. My wife didn't buy that excuse. ;)
 

whm1974

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I tried that once back when I use to drink way too much beer because we lived within walking distance of one. My wife didn't buy that excuse. ;)
Well I'm sick and tired of spending that kind of money and just pissing it away, so I just decided to quit last week. I just wished I did this back in January.
 
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UsandThem

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Well I'm sick and tired of spending that kind of money and just pissing it away, so I just decided to quit last week. I just wished I did this back in January.
I don't blame you. I spend about $40 a month in soda, and I think I need to cut back on it for health reasons. Better late than never. :)
 

whm1974

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I don't blame you. I spend about $40 a month in soda, and I think I need to cut back on it for health reasons. Better late than never. :)
Sorry if I gotten off topic here, but I'm still pissed off that I spent that much money which took some effort to save up. but you are right, better late then never.
 
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VirtualLarry

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Well if I didn't spend about ~$200 on soda in three weeks I would have had money to buy a few things last week. So because of the above I quit drinking pop last Monday.
Wow, I spend that much too. I'd like to completely give it up, but my meds make me feel VERY sluggish if I don't get a continual caffeine intake.
 

Viper GTS

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IMO you need to shift cost from the CPU and into memory and disk performance (unless you are planning to add those in the near future as additional funds are available). Your expensive CPU is going to be starved for data pulling video off a single mechanical disk, and the CC suite can pull an obscene amount of memory. My AE users are limited by the 64 GB in our edit systems today and that's just doing 50mb/s 720p. If she's going to do absolutely nothing but Premiere 32 GB might be OK for a while, but long term it's not enough. At a minimum I'd sacrifice some memory bandwidth today and get a 2x16 GB kit so you can easily add another in the future.

Viper GTS
 

Valantar

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Aug 26, 2014
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Given that the PC is now built, I suppose it's time to bring this thread back on topic. At the very least someone might have the same question I had: what's it like building an "EATX" (yeah, no, not real EATX, just a little bigger than ATX. Thanks Asus!) HEDT workstation in a Corsair 400Q.


But first I have to add: $200 in soda in three weeks? Whoa Nelly. I suppose I'd be glad if I could afford that, but on then again, no. Personally, my biggest vices are random gadgets from China (last up: a bunch of $1 PWM splitters, a couple of USB 3.0 to eSATA plug adapters, and a HDMI converter for my old Wii) and games and game bundles that I end up playing a couple of years after the fact. Never adds up to $200 in three weeks, luckily :p


Anyhow: This is the pile of parts, except for the PSU. A daunting task, but exciting nonetheless. I ended up throwing in an old Noctua NF-S12 1200rpm into the front of the case to complement the two Silent Wings fans. Don't quite know what I was thinking ordering only two, as the case definitely doesn't support 2x120+the included 140mm in the front.

Why no PSU? It was already unpacked. Even knowing that it's a relatively short model, I was surpised how small the Focus+ is. Looks even smaller in real life than pictures.

The motherboard looks sweet, but I can't quite see why they needed to extend it past ATX size. Not that it's bare or anything, but it definitely isn't a jam-packed design. And that chipset heatsink is rather ridiculous.

That socket, though. Old Core2Quad for size reference. Whoa.

Speaking of, here's the star of the show. No number of reviews, build guides and videos could prepare me for the size and heft of this CPU. Unfortunately I didn't weigh it, but it was definitely comparable to my OnePlus 3T - just far denser. Guess that massive IHS/slab of copper does make a difference. Also: That substrate alone has to be thicker than a regular mobile CPU.



Initial CPU installation. Have to love that retention mechanism. Easy as pie, even with the terrifying prospect of 4000+ pins to bend. The retention system effectively removes any room for error. The bracket-sled-socket system might seem over the top, but I have to think it'll save quite a few server techs some headaches, dollars, and possibly jobs. The sled-holder being spring-loaded keeps the (seriously heavy!) CPU away from the socket until you actually want it there. And the included torque wrench(!) takes any guesswork out of tightening down the bracket. Have to love that.


Cooling: yep, that cold plate is huge.

Everyone says to use loads of thermal paste. I'm listening. Turned out to be a bit much, but not bad.



First real surprise of the build: Someone on the Asus motherboard assembly day has apparently had a bad day. Not only is the m.2 thermal pad chewed up, but it looks like someone tried to screw the heatsink on blindfolded. Doesn't really matter, but not expected from a premium product like this.



Speaking of chipset heatsinks, there's no thermal material in between the actual chipset heatsink and the aesthethic cover. Speaks to how little heat the chipset generates, I suppose.

Here's the black sheep of this build: Asus GTX 970 Turbo. It was free, and an equivalent GPU would have cost far too much. Not a fan of the fan, though, but more on that later.

Initial build up. It boots, hooray! Also: a build mat is a brilliant investment, even if it's used once a year or less. Without it, I would have messed up my living room table for sure. Also, I don't have to be tethered to a wall socket to wear an antistatic bracelet.
 

Valantar

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Aug 26, 2014
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(had to split this into two due to having more than 20 pictures. Oh well.)

The actual build started the next day, and was finicky enough that I forgot to take pictures. Still, some notes on stuffing all of this into a rather small case:

  • All in all, it fits, and I had no real issues, but it takes work and attention to detail. And time. Total build time including cable routing was probably around six hours.
  • Without low profile memory, this would have been impossible. The fans are physically touching the RAM heatsinks.
  • The radiator makes the EPS connectors entirely inaccessible, and pushes down on at least one of them with a bit of force. Passable, but a close call. Also means that proper cable routing requires disconnecting the cables from the PSU. Which would have required removing the HDD cage if the PSU wasn't so short. I guess that's a consequence of a short, "no 5.25" bays" type of case.
  • The radiator also makes routing the rear fan through the top cable routing holes next to impossible. I ended up sticking the lead to the audio shield on the motherboard with double sided tape - works fine as they're both black, and away in a corner.
  • The extended motherboard is still clear of the rubber grommets, but inserting the angled USB 3.0 header was a bit of a challenge.
  • A bit of an oversight on my part, but the motherboard blocks pretty much any pass-through holes below the motherboard. Removing the PSU shroud allowed me to squeeze through the audio header, though.
  • The AIO pump header is squeezed between the RAM and I/O cover. That's a really stupid place to put it. I had to remove a RAM stick to insert it - which is of course impossible once the radiator is installed. Oh, and the CPU fan connectors, that power the radiator fans, are inaccessible once you install the radiator. Yep, this all had to come together in a very specific order. Not too difficult to figure out, but it took some planning.
  • I ended up plugging two of the front fans into the water pump header and m.2 fan header (what?) at the bottom right of the board. Should've RTFM, I suppose. Neither allow for as good fan control as I want. Hence ordering PWM splitters.
  • Coming from a Define R4, I'm annoyed at Corsair for making the built-in fan controller non-removable. A bunch of stringy wires and connectors to deal with in the quite limited cable routing space of the case.
  • Speaking of which: yeah, I wish there was another 5-10mm of space behind the motherboard tray. Also, the 2.5" tray is really, really in the way of cable routing. Needs work. Also, there are seemingly plenty of tie down points, but given how much you have to strap down the cables to fit them in the tight space, I ran out. If I had to install a 2.5" drive, I would have struggled to get the power cables in there. Zip ties are a must, too. Velcro straps are no good in a space like this.
In the end, it all came together relatively nicely. Cleaner than my own rig, but then again that has a full CPU+GPU water loop with soft tubing. Looking clean is not it's strong point. Even happy with the cable management, even if I dread the day I have to change anything. Have to stock up on zip ties.






Initial impressions and a few benchmarks will have to wait for the next post, I'm afraid. This one is already long enough.
 

UsandThem

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I'm going to have to check with the other moderators, but I think I might have to write you up for posting tech pron that I can't afford. ;)

Seriously, very nice looking rig right there! It's amazing how big the Threadripper CPU is compared to the mainstream processors.
 

Valantar

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Aug 26, 2014
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I'm going to have to check with the other moderators, but I think I might have to write you up for posting tech pron that I can't afford. ;)

Seriously, very nice looking rig right there! It's amazing how big the Threadripper CPU is compared to the mainstream processors.
Thanks! It's kinda fun being on the other side of this kind of thread, after a decade or more of watching people build these "the price is making my eyes bleed" rigs :D Then again, I'm not the one using it, but the build process was fun - and less scary than anticipated. AMD (and whoever worked with them - Foxconn, Lotes, others?) deserves some serious props for that CPU retention mechanism. If not for it, I would probably have shorted out the motherboard with flop sweat.

Some impressions from my relatively limited time using the PC:
  • The Enermax cooler is great, at least if you don't plan to OC. Suppose the 360mm version would be better for that. Love how it looks too - the cosmetic panels on the side of the rad really make a difference, without going over the top. A 35-minute OCCT run on all cores never exceeded 64 degrees (and the rise from ~60 to ~64 took 15-20 minutes). IIRC the CPU started out at and stayed at 3.4GHz though, .1 GHz below the base clock, which I assume has to do with OCCT using AVX or some such. Didn't bother looking into it much, but the CPU readily turbos to 4.2GHz in regular use. Fans never exceeded 1850rpm (100% is 2300 IIRC).
  • The top-mounted radiator wasn't a very good idea. If this was (mainly) a gaming rig, I would have done the same, but in this case, noise outweighs the need for fresh air to the GPU. Besides, games won't tax the CPU enough to really heat up the air all that much given the point above. I believe the problem is Corsair's choice of hexagonal mesh for the top fan openings - any decent volume of air moving through that makes a very distinct howling noise. It's not an issue in regular desktop use, but any real ramp-up of the radiator fans makes way more noise than it should. If it weren't for the clearance issues making this really fiddly, I would quickly unscrew the radiator to test just how much noise is removed just by removing the airflow from that mesh. Still, I'll probably move the radiator to the front at some point, and stick the magnetic top cover back on. That'll leave the case with just one exhaust fan, but it'd be easy enough to pull the top cover off to aid in heat dissipation during long renders or anything like that.
  • It absolutely destroys any CPU-related workload. Even if Cinebench is a Ryzen-friendly benchmark, watching those 24 threads chew through it was awesome in the true sense of the word. That it pretty much exactly doubles the score of my R5 1600X (2300+ vs ~1200) just serves to cement the impression that this CPU is a true beast.
  • This is my first time really touching Adobe Premiere Pro, and after seeing memory usage close in on 20GB while importing the first few short 4k clips to a new project, I definitely understand why 32GB is considered the real minimum requirement for it.
  • I'm quite disappointed with Asus' BIOS and software. For one, why is the only way to access XMP profiles hidden in the "easy mode" of the BIOS? I get that advanced users need more, but not getting the option at all in advanced mode is just silly. Fan control was less intuitive than my HTPC's Asrock FM2 board, which is seriously disappointing. Also, as far as I can tell there is no available software to manage fan speeds and other settings in Windows. For 2017, that's pretty weak. Come to think of it, I haven't checked the included DVD, but there's nothing except Aura on their site. On the positive side, once I found the XMP toggle, the motherboard has had zero issues with the 3400c16 profile of the RAM. Quite the improvement from Ryzen, at least with my Biostar board and 3200c16 TridentZ.
  • I'm pretty impressed with POST times. They're definitely not "quick", but not that much slower than my Biostar X370, which surprises me given the increased amount of controllers and so on.
All in all, building a rig like this is a blast, but definitely takes planning. It's removed quite a lot of my building anxiety, though (I've installed a $800 CPU and didn't kill it!), which is good. Whatever comes next (probably a GPU upgrade in a year or so when my Fury X starts to bother me and I've saved up enough for a worthy replacement and a water block) will definitely be less daunting. PC building has become incredibly easy lately. I suppose that's why people add challenges like hardline water tubing and custom-sleeved power cables.
 

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